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What does Degaussing really mean?

What does Degaussing really mean?

Posted in Blog

Glenn Laga

Degaussing is term we use all the time when talking about our services. When data needs to be erased quickly and inexpensively without destroying physical media, degaussing is usually appropriate. But what does this term really mean? The word degauss at its core simply means to demagnetize. However, when speaking specifically about data erasure, degaussing is more of a process.

The term degauss originates from Carl Friedrich Gauss, a German mathematician who applied mathematics to the study of geo-magnetism. A “gauss” is actually a unit of measurement related to magnetic flux density that is equal to one maxwell per square centimeter. Sounds confusing, right? In simpler language relating directly to data destruction, degaussing is technique used to destroy data on magnetic storage tapes such as those in data centers. The specific process involves changing the magnetic field on the tape using a box-like device known as a degausser. In turn, the data on the tape can be effectively destroyed and also eliminates the need for shredding. The process, sometimes called erasure, leaves any previous data on the unit in question completely unrecoverable. Erasure by way of a degaussing unit can be accomplished in two different ways, which is ultimately decided by the company you hire to handle the job, and can even be used to erase the contents of a USB thumb drive, smart phone or hard drive.

When selecting a data destruction company to execute the degaussing of your data, it is important to choose one that has the equipment and expertise to meet all DoD, state, federal, financial, and health care regulations, mandates and security guidelines. In addition, Guardian Data Destruction’s internal audit process also requires an annual third party forensic audit of its disk sanitization process for effectiveness, thoroughness and graded to meet the DoD specs. The review includes an evaluation of our data wiping technology and detailed analysis of numerous disk drives wiped using the technology.

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